8 Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Dr. Amy Forrer

The holiday season is an exciting time for families. Despite the celebrations and cheer, it is not uncommon for parents and children to experience stress and anxiety. Amy Forrer, MD, of Mass General Brigham Community Physicians in Concord, offers some friendly tips to maintain joy in family gatherings, festive meals, and holiday travel.

  1. First, stay calm. Recognize the triggers for yourself this time of year and do not let them derail your holidays.
  2. Balance is key. Strive to achieve daily balance for you and your family during outside time, together time, and alone time.  Despite cold weather, make sure everyone gets outside at least one hour a day - the more the merrier! Quiet time at home can be rejuvenating for all ages and will help provide a sense of calmness in your home.
  3. Get the kids involved! Use this time to involve your family in household chores, such as cooking, gift wrapping, and preparing the table for a family meal.
  4. Don’t bend the rules. Household rules remain in effect during the holiday season. Let your children know that the holidays do not provide a free pass for bad behavior. Continue to use age-appropriate consequences as you would any other time of the year.
  5. Plan ahead. Create your own holiday agenda with new and family traditions that bring your family joy. Be open to new experiences and let go of traditions that may no longer be enjoyable for your family.
  6. Keep your regular schedule. Maintain your normal routines for sleep, rest, and meals. This will help to avoid the tired, overstimulated, and hungry meltdowns parents know well.
  7. Avoid overindulgence. Provide your family with a healthy snack prior to attending a holiday party. Overeating can contribute to additional stress and guilt this time of year.
  8. Practice gratitude. Recognize what you are grateful for in your life and share at least one thing a day with your family. Sharing a personal gratitude with a child is a wonderful way to connect during a busy holiday season.

About Dr. Amy Forrer

Amy Forrer, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics. She is part of the Mass General Brigham Community Physicians practice in Concord, and is pleased to share these tips with the community to help families feel calm during this busy season.